Top Gear #8 DMM Boa Screwgate

16th Sep 2014

There are a lot of locking carabiner options on the market and I’ve had the chance to use quite a selection over the years.  Some lock with magnets or a twist mechanism, others are super small, a few have built in systems to prevent cross loading and you can even choose them in a host of different colours.  The range is vast and many designer hours have inevitably gone into creating these little climbing marvels.  But sometimes simplicity is best and, if I had to choose my all-time favourite locking carabiner, the longstanding DMM Boa would be the top of my list.  They are so good, infact, that they are Peak Mountaineering’s latest Top Gear selection (Top Gear #8).
Now there are certainly a lot of things Boa carabiners aren't.  At 83grams (for the screwgate version) they are fairly heavy when stacked up against other models.  Their chunky size means they also aren’t the most compact.  They don’t have any gimmicky ‘bells and whistles’ like some models and they aren’t particularly cheap at around £13 a go.  But they are worth every penny and should, in my opinion, have a place on every trad climbers rack.
What the Boa does have is a size that makes them very easy to handle and a strength (25kn closed gate strength) that makes them comforting when used in critical situations (DMM also make a 30kn strength Boa weighing 12 grams more). They also feature a perfect HMS shape that makes them perfect for use as a tying in or anchor centralisation piece, a quality of workmanship (like all DMM products) that makes them ultra reliable, a wide gate opening (25mm opening) that is ideal for use with thick gloves or chunky diameter ropes and finally, as an instructor their large size makes their handling very beginner friendly too.
DMM make several locking options but for standard climbing situations I would choose the screwgate variety every time.  Screwgates are very user friendly and the physical process of screwing them closed gives time to check they are locked.  They are also available in a variety of colours which makes them perfect for use in an instructional capacity (I give each client a small selection of Boas and coordinated slings with a different colour for each person so it is easy to track who is clipped in to which).
Boas are perfect for so many situations and I never climb without one tucked away on my harness ready for action.
Posted by Paul